Learning Disability

Aspects of Documentation

Statement of Disability

The written diagnostic assessment must contain a clear statement that a learning disability is present. The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations and rational for accommodations (which should be supported by specific test results and/or clinical observations) and a description of the impact of diagnosed learning disability on specific major life activity.

Diagnostic Report

An IEP or 504 Plan in and of itself may be insufficient documentation but can be included as part of a comprehensive evaluation. The decision to provide services will be determined from a written diagnostic report based upon the following guidelines.

  • Diagnostic Interview
    Presenting problems, medical, developmental, psychosocial, etc. and a discussion of dual diagnosis where indicated.
  • Assessment of Aptitude
    A complete intellectual assessment with all sub-tests and standard scores reported.
  • Academic Achievement 
    A comprehensive academic achievement battery should include current levels of functioning in relevant areas such as reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics, and oral and written language.
  • Information Processing
    Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, processing speed, executive function, and motor ability) should be evaluated and diagnosed as appropriate.
  • Specific Diagnosis
    It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning such as emotional, attentional or motivational problems that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician is encouraged to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of terms such as "suggests" or "is indicative of" a learning disability.
  • Test Scores
    The test findings should document the nature and severity of the learning disability and data should logically reflect a substantial limitation to learning. Standard scores and/or percentiles should be included and are expected to correlate with identified functional limitations and recommendations for accommodation.

 

Test Battery

The assessment must include a comprehensive psychoeducational testing battery which addresses both aptitude and achievement. Test scores for the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised and the Woodcock-Johnson Psychological Battery-Revised are acceptable instruments for these areas.

Professional Evaluator

The assessment must be administered by a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or learning disabilities specialist.

Date of Testing

The assessment must have been completed within the past five years and be updated if changes occur while the student is enrolled at Macalester in order to ensure the provision of appropriate services.

Reminder

Documentation must be received by the Office of Student Affairs as well as a meeting with the Assistant Dean of Students in order to receive accommodations during that semester. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs (651-696-6220) as soon as possible to avoid a delay in securing services.